Amazon announced on Tuesday, September 3, it will launch a program called "Kindle Matchbook," which bundles traditional print books with e-books. Publishers were rather unresponsive to the announcement. HarperCollins is currently the only publisher participating, according to an article by Publisher's Weekly. Matchbook is set to go live in October.
The Amazon Matchbook program offers customers e-book versions of new print titles, in addition to e-book editions of physical books they may have already purchased. Pricing ranges from free to $2.99. E-books include those self-published by Kindle Direct authors, as well as titles offered by Amazon Publishing itself. Basically, authors of physical books can offer an add-on Kindle edition, but are not required to offer Amazon.com exclusivity on the Kindle version for the first 90 days. Currently, Kindle publishers must agree to sell their e-book in Amazon's Kindle store and nowhere else on the web for the first 90 days it is in the KDP select program.
Some publishers feel this bundling of e-books with physical books is a bad idea and will devalue books in print. Others disagree, stating that there are consumers who will always prefer a hard copy or physical book to an electronic reader. For some people, digital technology will never replace the tactile experience of reading a physical book. For some, a box of chocolates and a Kindle just isn't the same as a box of chocolates and a real romance novel.